Custom Award Speech Sample

Honoured guests, ladies and gentlemen,

Has it ever occurred to you that leaders are like a torch glowing in the darkness? They light up the way for us. They inspire us to be different. Today John Smyth is receiving an award for his commitment and dedication to the homeless of our city. For twenty years now he has fought, lobbied and worked for those without that most basic necessity, a home. During that time he formed Home Help the association that is now a byword for caring and compassion and which now has a membership of 300 volunteers, all of them working for their less fortunate fellow citizens.

You might think that John would be a politician's nightmare because of his lobbying. The fact that all sides of the political divide are represented here tonight proves, I think, that John has put homelessness in this city to the top of the political agenda. By his very sincerity he has persuaded so many others to share his beliefs. We are delighted that so many of the leaders of so many different sectors in the community have joined us tonight to pay tribute to him.

John is a very modest man. He does not look for glory or praise for himself. All he wants is homes for the homeless. Like most other people he has to earn his living but every spare moment he has is spent fundraising for and raising the profile of his charity. He would be the very first to admit that he could not do this without the loving and loyal support of his wife and children. When he heard of this award his first words were "Oh that award really belongs to Mary and the children. They spend so much time helping me."

John knows that enthusiasm alone is not enough. He knows it has to be married to expertise. Home Help started in a very small way indeed with John pressurising the local authority on behalf of one homeless family whose members were too illiterate even to fill in the correct forms. Since then he has consulted experts and learnt the ropes and persuaded those with influence and expertise to join in his crusade.

I say crusade deliberately because a crusade is based on a belief. John believes that every man woman and child in this city deserves a roof over his or her head. He know that some of the homeless have problems such as drug taking or alcoholism yet he never wavers in the belief that a good home is essential to everyone , He works on the premise that such problems must be dealt with in conjunction with finding appropriate housing even if it is sheltered accommodation for some time.

Quiet and assuming though he is John has a way of overcoming obstacles. He reaches for the good in every one of us. He challenges local groups to provide even one home, knowing full well that once he has us involved we cannot escape and will try to provide another. To date he has provided or pressurised others to provide suitable housing for 1000 families. Think what this means to people who have been living in slum housing or even on the streets. Mothers can bathe their children and tuck them up in a warm bed at night. Fathers can give a home address when looking for work. The old and the lonely have found themselves in comfortable surroundings with appropriate help on call if, and when they need it. ,

Obviously the needs of the homeless differ. There is no one fit all solution. John has recognised this in the different housing schemes he has helped provide. These range from homes suitable for families with green play areas to easy to maintain small bungalows for the elderly. For John you see there is no such thing as THE homeless. For him it has always been a case of individual need, individual people with personal problems. Put simply he cares. His magic is that he has made us care too.

John is very human. There must be days when he gets tired or totally frustrated. There must be times when he feels that someone else should do the work, that he has done his bit. Yet his adrenalin shot comes from thinking of those mothers welcoming children home from school to their nice warm homes. His adrenalin comes from the statistics that tell him some much as been achieved but there is still so much to do. He has shared his vision with us and we cannot, I think, close our eyes to the picture he shows us. John C. Maxwell once said that a big man is one who makes us feel bigger when we are with him. Tonight I am sure you all agree we are in the presence of a really big man.

Tonight then it gives me great pleasure to present this award to John as a token of appreciation from those of us lucky enough to have homes and especially from those who didn't but now have.